Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has confirmed that his decision to take the land portfolio from Daryl Vaz and reassign him to housing and water was linked to his attempt to lease lands in the Holywell area of the Blue Mountains.
Mr. Vaz, who is a minister without portfolio in the Economic Growth and Job Creation ministry, was recently forced to withdraw his application to lease the lands for 25 years at $120,000 per annum following concerns about the move to build a cabin in a protected area.
Soon after, Mr. Holness announced Mr. Vaz was being given new responsibilities.
Speaking on Radio Jamaica's Hotline programme Friday afternoon, the Prime Minister explained the decision.
Asked by Hotline host Emily Shields whether the issue with the Holywell lands was the reason for Mr. Vaz's shift, Mr. Holness said: "That would have been one consideration. There were other considerations. Remember there was no minister, minister without portfolio or even a junior minister who would have had direct oversight over the water and housing portfolio for a little while after Pearnel Charles Jr took up representational politics. So that was a consideration, Holywell situation was a consideration, but the most important thing in my mind is the economic recovery."
The Prime Minister said Mr. Vaz recognises the need for the shift and has agreed that the issue concerning the Holywell lands was "poor judgement". According to Mr. Holness,"he understands and acknowledged that maybe it is best that he's refocused and he is very happy to go to water."